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Exclusive Interview: Joe Bob Briggs Discusses the Third Annual “WORLD DRIVE-IN MOVIE FESTIVAL AND JAMBOREE”

Monday, October 2, 2023 | Exclusive


Mutant Family, rejoice! On Oct. 6-8th, Joe Bob, Darcy and the whole The Last Drive-In gang will roll the Airstream into the West Wind Las Vegas Drive-In. The third annual JOE BOB BRIGGS WORLD DRIVE-IN MOVIE FESTIVAL AND JAMBOREE will feature all of the festivities that made the previous events at the Mahoning and Malco locations a success – live music, guests galore, film screenings (including a Roger Corman double feature that’ll air on Shudder at a later date) and even an opportunity to be a part of film history, as Charles Band will be shooting his latest on-site! And smack dab in the middle of all the weekend’s activities, Joe Bob will host Roger Corman on stage with a look back at “Roger Corman’s First 70 Years.” With just mere days left to prepare, Joe Bob gave RUE MORGUE an early peek at what’s to come.   

This is the third year, and if we’re looking at themes, the first year at the Mahoning was a call to arms to show that drive-ins are an important piece of cinema history. Last year was all about Joe Bob’s day of reckoning with Halloween III. This year, however, feels more celebratory in tone, between highlighting Roger Corman’s career and the 90th anniversary of the drive-in. Does this outing resonate more on a personal level than the previous events?

It does primarily because of Roger. I gave Roger a lifetime achievement award 40 years ago, so now we have to give him a second lifetime achievement award or something, and we haven’t actually decided what’s huge enough to give him! He’s had at least two lifetimes as a producer, director, all around filmmaker; That’s what makes the weekend special for me. I think he’s just one of the most amazing filmmakers in the history of Hollywood, and in his 97th year, he’s still making movies. He’s always been a friend of any show that I do. I feel like we’re doing the ultimate tribute to Roger because he was always providing movies for the drive-ins and the grindhouses for almost all of his directing career and also as the owner of New World Pictures, Concorde Pictures and the later manifestations of them. He’s had tributes from the Cinémathèque Française and the British Film Institute. He’s even got an honorary Academy Award, but I think this is his people and that’s what makes it special. I never get nervous at these things, but I’m a little nervous about being responsible for summing up Roger’s career on the stage! We have lots of other good stuff planned, but Roger’s day is huge for me.

For folks who didn’t make it to the previous two iterations of the Jamboree, what should they expect out in Vegas this year?

We call it the “Drive-In Woodstock.” It’s not just three days of watching movies, but it’s three days of partying with other like-minded moviegoers. I think a lot of people come to be with people that they already know online, but they don’t know in person. They’ve become friends with people through our show, and this is a place where they can gather. And, as far as filmmakers go, I think that we are the only true indie film festival. The reason I say that is that most film festivals have an entry fee. We don’t. The second thing is they allow films that are financed by companies in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London … That’s not what we call an indie film. The indie films that we admit to our competition are films that were made in the towns of America by the people in those towns and with no outside financing. I think that’s the future of filmmaking.

I don’t think anybody needs to go to Hollywood; Let the Marvel executives go to Hollywood, and Hollywood will make their movies. But for everybody else that’s making the movies we love – exploitation movies, horror movies, genre movies, whatever you want to call them – those can be made anywhere. And they should be! The more creative input we have from the larger number of people, the better the movies will get, and so we celebrate these homegrown movies. They’re great, and the thing they don’t have, and it’s the reason it’s important that festivals honor them, is that they don’t have marketing budgets. You need a million bucks to market an unknown film, to get it known by the public. It’s not an easy thing; The gatekeepers are not going to help you. Netflix and Amazon Prime, the film studios and the big exhibitors, they’re not going to help you. So we’re trying to create something that helps these films get noticed.

Sunday night is all about Sleepaway Camp, closing out the weekend by saluting one of the most quintessential horror films of the last four decades. What plans have you in place with regard to guests and screenings?

It’s the 40th anniversary of Sleepaway Camp, one of the strangest and yet most influential slashers of the ’80s, and Felissa Rose is everybody’s favorite convention attendee. We have the original Sleepaway Camp, and then we’ve asked anybody else who was in Sleepaway Camp, Sleepaway Camp II or III, to also join us. It also happens to be one of the favorite movies of Chris Jericho, who’s bringing his band, Fozzy, to the Jamboree, and he’s going to riff on the movie – along with me and Jonah Ray (MST3K). We have the cast, the movies, the riffers and the fans who love those movies, which we’re turning into an all-night slumber party. Monday is Columbus Day and nobody has to go to work, so we think we’ll probably go until pretty close to dawn on that last night. There’s four movies, a lot of stuff between the movies, with the interviews and Fozzy. That’s sort of the ultimate wrap-up party where we’re going to use your last ounce of energy to finish off the weekend.

The Huby indie film winners have been announced, and it’s a group of folks whose features and shorts embody that Joe Bob Briggs philosophy of “Fuck Aspiring.” This is also the world premiere of Mutilator 2, right?

Buddy Cooper, the same guy that made Mutilator, nearly 40 years later he’s making Mutilator 2! We have a couple of Drive-In world premieres, and the shorts are excellent as well. That program will probably run until 3:30 in the morning. It’s a lot of film to show that night, but that’s sort of “Mutant Day.” The opening day is always for socializing among the mutants. We have a welcome BBQ, karaoke and a lot of John Brennan and The Bigfeet music.

I’ve seen some online chatter of threats of a mass singalong …

Oh, yeah! We’re definitely singing “Fall Break.”

For more information on the third annual Joe Bob Briggs World Drive-In Movie Festival and Jamboree, click here

Kevin Hoover
Ever since watching CREEPSHOW as a child, Kevin Hoover has spent a lifetime addicted to horror (and terrified of cockroaches). He wholeheartedly believes in the concept of reanimating the dead if only we’d give it the old college try, and thinks FRIDAY THE 13th PART V is the best in the franchise. Aside from writing “Cryptid Cinema Chronicles” for Rue Morgue, he’s been a working copywriter for over a decade and you’ve probably bought something with his words on it. He also believes even the worst movie can be improved with buckets of gore.